“I shared with her that gratitude for everything is next to impossible for any of us to achieve. That is why we call an initiative of increased gratitude in education a practice, where we choose only one thing to practise and become better and better at that beforemoving on to something else. The notion of practice implies that we are not perfect.” (p. 68)
After learning about gratitude, the idea that gratitude should come naturally is the reason why we may beat ourselves up when we realise we aren’t feeling grateful all the time. It may lead us to feeling like what’s the point because we’re not good enough.
The practice of gratitude sounds easy in theory, but it isn’t in practice (like many things), and that’s ok. I remember hearing a quote from a podcast, which I can’t remember where from, but it was something like “aim for a B+ (not an A+)”. This was said by a professional athlete who was explaining that many people quit, and that’s because they want to go from zero to hero. They see the amazing results others have achieved and they want it for themselves too, so they aim for an A+ (usually the type A personalities). But when they start struggling and don’t live up to their expectations, they are also the ones who give up quickly. Whereas aiming for a B+ is analogous to celebrating the small wins. Build a ladder, step by step.
It’s interesting why we would think that gratitude should come naturally at all. Working on ourselves to be mindful and to get to a higher state of consciousness should be a study like in any other skill we practice for.
Maybe gratitude is innate in all of us when we are born because a baby is pure, but somehow along the way in life, things happen to us and we begin to have repressed emotions. And we lose a little of our compassion and empathy for others. And maybe a meaningful life is to get back to our first self – the self when we were born before life happened.